Draft time is when New York Rangers brass earn their salaries, but they don’t always score a bullseye, and sometimes they miss the target entirely.
The jury is still out as to how well the New York Rangers, Devils, and Islanders did with last season’s first-round draft picks, though the two marquee players had good (not bad, not great) and very comparable rookie campaigns.
Rangers right wing Kaapo Kakko showed flashes of brilliance as he got accustomed to North American play, but never truly broke out and was still feeling his way when play was suspended. In 66 games, the 19-year-old Finn tallied 10 goals and 13 assists (23 points), but had a plus/minus of -26.
Across the Hudson, Devils center Jack Hughes put up similar numbers. In 61 games, the 18-year-old had 7 goals and 14 assists (21 points), with a plus/minus of -26 in 61 games.
Hughes and Kakko garnered most of the headlines as the top two picks, while the Islanders drafted Swedish right winger Simon Holmstrom 23rd overall. He spent the season in the AHL, scoring just 15 points.
So none of those three first-rounders exactly tore up the league, but there is still plenty of time for them to find their sea legs. But other Metro Area high draft picks from bygone years haven’t fared so well. Here’s a look at the worst draft-time misfires, starting with the New York Islanders.